Email plays an important role in our lives in this modern world, and it is now beyond its purpose as a simple communication tool. We now rely on it on most of our transactions, and we use it greatly as a form of verification of our different online and financial accounts. It means it contains all the crucial information linking to such accounts, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals.
A compromised email can mean problems, and their degree will depend on how much information is stored on it. If your email address is linked to your financial accounts, it could mean absolute chaos leading to identity theft, credit card fraud, access to your other accounts, and more. With this, it is crucial to take care of it before the worst happens. You can start by using strong passwords, utilizing two-step verification, and using secure devices. But what if the data breach has already occurred? How should you react to it, and what steps should you take?
Here are the helpful steps you can do:
Change your password right away and the password of those accounts linked to your email. In changing your password, never use old ones you’ve used before nor any phrases or words that might relate to your personal information. It should be long and contain lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. If possible, also use multi-factor authentication to make the accounts more secure.
Determine right away what bits of information were exposed in the breach. If you are using your email account for your businesses, transactions, work, and other financial accounts, compromised information can mean huge damages. You can visit Have I Been Pwned?, a website that allows Internet users to check whether their personal data has been compromised by data breaches. It also gives other crucial information about the incident. All you need is to enter your email address or your phone number.
Look for some suspicious activities in the account. Once there is a breach, you can expect that your account was used for something that will benefit the criminal. A compromised email can lead to identity theft, and the criminal might use your email to get into contact with your bank and other services you are using. Check it by scanning your Trash, Sent, or Inbox. Also, check your settings as hackers might change them to further compromise your security.
Warn your contacts about it. As said, criminals can use your identity once they have gained access to your email. They can send messages and do transactions that could cause negative impacts on you. These criminals can even use your account to victim others by sending malicious files, so tell your friends, relatives, or workmates not to click the. With this, make sure to inform all the individuals on your contact list about it.
Get better protection to protect your account in the future. Poor security is one of the main reasons email accounts could be compromised. This is why it is crucial to have reliable security software that is always updated. Run it to check for malware, spyware, and viruses. If you still don’t have one, make sure to get one from a respected company. Also, update your OS, apps, and browsers for added protection.